1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In today’s competitive business environment, organizations can no
longer afford to waste the potential of their workforce. There are key
factors in the employee’s physical working environment that impact
greatly on their level of motivation and performance. The physical
working environment that is set in place impacts employee morale,
productivity and engagement - both positively and negatively. It is not
just coincidence that new programs addressing lifestyle changes,
work/life balance, health and fitness - previously not considered key
benefits - are now primary considerations of potential employees, and
common practices among the most admired companies.
The environment is man’s immediate surrounding
which he manipulates for his existence. Wrongful manipulation
introduces hazards that make the environments unsafe and impede the
productivity rate of the worker. Therefore, the workplace entails an
environment in which the worker performs his work (Chapins, 1995) while
an effective workplace is an environment where results can be achieved
as expected by management (Mike, 2010; Shikdar, 2002). Physical working
environment affect how employees in an organization interact, perform
tasks, and are led. Physical working environment as an aspect of the
work environment have directly affected the human sense and subtly
changed interpersonal interactions and thus productivity. This is so
because the characteristics of a room or a place of meeting for a group
have consequences regarding productivity and performance level. The
physical workplace environment is the most critical factor in keeping
an employee satisfied in today’s business world. Today’s workplace is
different, diverse, and constantly changing. The typical
employer/employee relationship of old has been turned upside down.
Workers are living in a growing economy and have almost limitless job
opportunities. This combination of factors has created an environment
where the business needs its employees more than the employees need the
business (Smith, 2011).
A large number of physical work environment
studies have shown that workers/users are satisfied with reference to
specific workspace features. These features preference by users are
highly significant to their productivity and workspace performance,
they are lighting, ventilation rates, access to natural light and
acoustic environment (Humphries, 2005; Veitch, Charles, Newsham,
Marquardt & Geerts, 2004; Karasek & Theorell, 1990).
Lighting and other factors like ergomic furniture
has been found to have positive influence on employees health (Dilani,
2004; Milton, Glencross & Walters, 2000; Veitch & Newsham,
2000) and consequently on productivity. This is so because light has a
profound impact on worker’s/people’s physical, physiological and
psychological health, and on their overall performance at the
workplace. Ambient features in office environments, such as lighting,
temperature, existence of windows, free air movement etc, suggest that
these elements of the physical environment influence employee’s
attitudes, behaviours, satisfaction, performance and productivity
(Larsen, Adams, Deal, Kweon & Tyler, 1998).
Closed office floor plan, whether each employee
has a separate office of their own or there are a few people in each
closed office, allows staff a greater amount of privacy than an open
plan office layout. They have the chance to work in peace and quiet,
keeping them focused on the tasks in hand without getting overtly
distracted by what their colleagues are doing. It offers employees a
thinking fame or be creative without much interruption (Mwbex, 2010).
In the open office plan, noise existence is stressful and demotivating,
posses’ high level of distraction and disturbance coupled with low
privacy level (Evans & Johnson, 2000).
With technological development, innovative
communication methods, virtual reality; e-market improvement and
alternative work patterns, workplace continues to change rapidly
(Challenger, 2000). To accommodate these rapid changes while
maintaining or improving outcomes, organizations have increasingly
turned to some version of environment such as open office space
(Terricone and Luca, 2002). This type of work environment supports new
styles of working and flexible workplaces which offers interpersonal
access and ease of communication compared to fully enclosed private
offices. This change to open plan office has increased employee’s
productivity compared to closed office spaces (Becker, 2002).
Furthermore, it is easier to communicate with
someone whom you can see more easily than someone adjacent/distant or
separated by objects from you (J’Istvan in Business (2010). The open
office creates egalitarian system with equal working conditions that
reduces the distance between employees and improves communication flow
(Brennan, Chugh & Kline, 2002, Hedge, 1986, 2000).
Noise is one of the leading causes of employees’ distraction,
leading to reduced productivity, serious inaccuracies, and increased
job-related stress. According to Bruce (2008), study showed that
workplace distractions cut employee productivity by as much as 40%, and
increase errors by 27%. Also, Moloney (2011) citing Loftness study of
2003 confirmed the importance of natural light and air (ventilation) to
worker performance. The study showed a 3-
18% gain in productivity in buildings with day-lighting system.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The physical working environment in a majority of organizations
and industry is unsafe and unhealthy. These includes poorly designed
workstations, unsuitable furniture, lack of ventilation, inappropriate
lighting, excessive noise, insufficient safety measures in fire
emergencies and lack of personal protective equipment. People working in
such environment are prone to occupational disease and it impacts on
employee’s performance. Thus organizational performance is decreased
due to the workplace environment. It is a wide occupational area where
the employees are facing a serious problem in their work place like
environmental and physical factors. So it will be difficult to provide
facilities to increase their performance level.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the impact of physical working environment on organizational performance.
- To identify the factors that contributes to good physical working environment in an organization.
- To determine other factors that enhances organizational performance.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the impact of physical working environment on organizational performance?
- What are the factors that contribute to good physical working environment in an organization?
- What are the other factors that enhance organizational performance?
HO: There is no significant relationship between physical working environment and organizational performance.
HA: There is significant relationship between physical working environment and organizational performance.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- The result from this study will educate business managers on
the relationship between physical working environment and
organizational performance. It will also educate on the factors that
contributes to good physical working environment for employee to
enhance their performance.
- This research will be a contribution to the body of literature
in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic
performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future
research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the relationship between physical working environment and organizational performance.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to
impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant
materials, literature or information and in the process of data
collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will
simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This
consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
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